Leslie Klinger is the author or editor of two dozen books and numerous articles on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.  Recently he edited a collection, called A Study in Sherlock, containing original stories based on the Holmes’ character and other elements of Conan Doyle’s originals.  Although the entire Sherlock Holmes canon is in the public…

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In a short-lived, much-reviled sitcom of my youth, My Mother the Car, the title character was a restored 1928 Porter touring car, the reincarnation of star Jerry van Dyke’s mother, who spoke to Jerry through the radio and—as per the theme song indelibly lodged in my memory—“helped him through everything I do.” I am not aware of any…

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Back in October 2012 I posted a link to the Copyright Office’s notice seeking public comment on “the current state of play for orphan works” as part of its continuing review of the subject and “in order to advise Congress as to possible next steps for the United States.”  That notice included a very fair…

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Dennis Morris was a photographer who recorded the Sex Pistols’ legendary 1977 tours, capturing at least one iconic on-stage image of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious.  Russell Young is an artist who found that image on the internet and used it, without Morris’s permission, in a series of Warhol-like pieces.  Morris v. Young, decided yesterday by Judge Gee of…

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A congressional committee report on the epochal Copyright Act of 1909 contained the Yoda-like pronouncement that “not primarily for the benefit of the author, but primarily for the benefit of the public, such rights are given.” It was an inelegant expression of the basic theory of copyright, that giving authors exclusive use of their writings…

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A Bikram Yoga studio just opened not far from my office, and almost before I could ask, “What’s Bikram Yoga?” the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, in Bikram’s Yoga College of India v. Evolation Yoga, has told me what it is and one thing it is not—copyrightable as a “choreographic work.” Details after the jump.

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As Professors Aufderheide and Jaszi write in their book Reclaiming Fair Use (Chicago 2011), “fair use  becomes real only when people use it; like a muscle, it can shrink with disuse.”  Kudos then to fulltime high school teacher Rob Rang and NFLdraftscout.com, for which Rang moonlights as an NFL Draft analyst.  It must have been…

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Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides that for “any Speech or Debate in either House” of Congress, members “shall not be questioned in any other Place.”  It would be nice to think that, cloaked in this immunity, our Congress could truly be one of the world’s great deliberative bodies, but how often does…

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The literary estate of William Faulkner has been on quite a tear this past week.  On October 25th it filed a copyright infringement suit against Sony Pictures Classics, and on October 26th another against Northrop Grumman Corporation and The Washington Post.  Both suits center around the attibuted use of a famous Faulkner aphorism.  In the Sony…

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As the author of a work of narrative legal history with a focus on the early part of the 20th Century, the problem of orphan works is near and dear to my heart.  Thanks to the overly generous copyright terms extensions granted by Congress in 1998, my ability to quote some very relevant unpublished manuscripts and to reproduce certain…

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